Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, today reiterated the Governments
commitment to supporting communities affected by flooding in many parts of England.
In a statement to Parliament Mr Benn paid tribute to the heroic efforts of
the emergency services, local authorities, voluntary sector, military, and
Environment Agency, describing their collective response as magnificent.
With more heavy rain forecast for the coming weekend he encouraged householders
and businesses to make use of the Environment Agencys Floodline telephone
number and website for advice.
Mr Benn also took the opportunity to confirm an increased flood defence settlement
in the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007, with spending due to rise from around
£600m this year to £800m by the end of the CSR period.
Hilary Benn said:
I am sure that the House will wish to pay tribute to the continuing heroic
efforts of the many who have responded so magnificently to this very exceptional
rainfall. They include the staff of the fire, ambulance, police and other rescue
services, our armed services, local authorities, the Environment Agency, the
voluntary sector, and local communities neighbour helping neighbour.
I appreciate just how hard everyone has worked - some people are very tired
- and I am very grateful to them and for the help they have received from other
As the flood waters recede, we will then move into the recovery effort,
which will need support from across central, regional and local government,
businesses and voluntary organisations.
The Government has always recognised the need to spend more on flood
defence with changes in climate, and we have increased spending from £307m
in 1996/97 to £600m this year. And I can today inform the House that we
will further increase spending across government on flood risk management and
defences to £800 million in 2010-11.